Who or what inspired your writing style?

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B.D. Skunkworks

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Is their an Author, or perhaps a particular work that inspired/shaped/influenced your writing style/cadence/voice? For me, it was J.D. Salinger. More particularly, J.D. Salinger in 'Franny and Zooey'. I've read that book twenty-two times in my life. I'm just completely taken with his grammatical juxtaposition and seemingly cynical syntax. I also find much merit in the general diction of his analogies and observations.

"Its was a station-platform kiss, spontaneous enough to begin with, but rather inhibited in the follow-through, and with something of a forehead-bumping aspect."

"I say it's a compound, or multiple love story, pure and complicated."

"The rest were standing around in hatless, smoky little groups of twos and threes and fours inside the heated waiting room, talking in voices that, almost without exception, sounded collegiately dogmatic, as though each young man, in his strident conversational turn, was clearing up, once and for all, some highly controversial issue, one that the outside, non-matriculating world had been bungling, provocatively or not, for centuries."

...
I've attempted, on quite the number of occasions, to emulate his style of phrasing into my work as whole. Every time I need a literary boost, I read a few pages of this book.
 

Chris P

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It continues to evolve. As it should.

In high school, I took what ended up being an amazing class called "Individualized Reading," in which we could choose from a list of like 250 books, one of which was Vonnegut's Cat's Cradle. My world: rocked. Before then I only read Hardy Boys and Agatha Christie mysteries. I couldn't believe people could write about stuff like that, use those words, and have the story go the way it did. I'd always toyed with writing, but as I devoured everything Vonnegut put out (he was still actively publishing at the time) the more I became convinced that writing was something I simply had to do.

Since then, I've level-set around a Vonnegut mean, although less spec-fic, and less gritty but still Vonnegutian to-the-miserable-side-of-okay main characters, and other elements (tempered by influences from such people as John Updike, John Irving, Evelyn Waugh, Dave Eggers, Ann Patchett, and Jonathan Franzen). I greatly admire and enjoy Toni Morrison, Orhan Pamuk, Neil Gaiman, and others, but I struggle to emulate their styles.
 
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williemeikle

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I've got a pulpy, action-oriented style that has come from reading the likes of Rice Burroughs, Conan Doyle, Robert E Howard and such as a lad, and borrowing some of Stephen King's conversational tone. But possibly the biggest single influence isn't a writer at all, but Ray Harryhausen movies, which have been a constant source of joy to me from back in the early '60s and an early introduction to Jason and the Argonauts.
 

ChaseJxyz

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It depends on the project, I don't really have a consistent "voice"/style, I feel like. But I write marketing materials, blog posts, short fanfics, long novels...wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to only have one style.

Brazhenfall is inspired by The Handmaid's Tale and Confessions of the Fox as it's also an in-universe non-fiction text written by an academic (and footnote!). I have also been really inspired by Bad Blood and Super Pumped, which are nonfiction books about tech startup founders doing the big crimes. Those two really stuck with me because locations were places I've been, I've worked, characters are people I have 2-3 degrees of separation from, and it's a really weird feeling to read what feels like a thriller-y novel but you KNOW that you exist in that world just off-camera. That would be incredibly hard to replicate in fiction unless I make the reader a very specific character in-universe, and unless said reader has highlighted/tabbed/annotated the book themselves (a la Five Night's at Freddy's Survival Logbook) I'm not exactly sure how I'd do that! But if I ever figure it out I would love to try.

<Inspect> is incredibly based on Zero Escape, it's not even subtle about it, in themes, style, tone, and "under the hood" with the code/game design. There's also a healthy dose of Ace Attorney and Danganronpa, too. The other things are "non-inspirations," as in, "I absolutely hated how this writer/game did this, and I refuse to make the same mistake as them;" I won't go into specifics since that would go against RYFW lol. I cannot name specifics for other things that I'm drawing on for the first person POV stuff because I cannot recall them. But I am a firm believer that you're simply an amalgamation of all the media you've ever consumed and it all influences your style, even in subtle ways, so you can imagine whatever you want there.

My monster hunter project also gets a shout-out since it is also inspired by Zero Escape. Namely that the villain of ZE is faceblind and it upsets him so much that he did inhumane experiments on and killed children to find a cure for it, but also he's apparently too dumb to realize that you can tell people apart by their voice/hair/clothes/mannerisms. I'm faceblind, too, and it was the first time I've ever seen it in fiction and it really stuck with me because of how stupid and incorrect it was. So my rival/love interest is faceblind because I feel I must represent it fairly and justly. The fact it makes some plot stuff easier, too, (like he never realizes he met with a family member of the MC, or doesn't recognize the MC after a monstrous transformation) so that's a nice bonus!
 

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There was a columnist for the Columbus Dispatch whose work I loved. It was one of the first things I read each Sunday, even as a teen. I had occasion to take a writing class from him in the 90s, and he told me he was "immensely impressed" with my writing and mentioned Raymond Chandler (who I hadn't read at all at that point). So that's one.

I've read a ton of Robert Parker, Tom Clancy (early stuff), Harold Coyle, Jerry Ahern, William W. Johnstone, and Richard Austin. Lots of TEOTWAWKI, sure, but some great character development too.
 
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CathleenT

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For me, no single author could ever replace Tolkien, although it meant a great deal to me that during the formative years of my life, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Diana Wynne Jones, and Ursula LeGuin were actively writing what I considered to be truly excellent fantasy. I love fantasy, or at least noblebright fantasy, and seeing women consistently excel in it gave me hope.

I wish Rowling had been able to go with her full name. I think it was her publisher's call, although later she certainly had the clout to do otherwise. And maybe since everyone knows she's a woman, it doesn't matter so much.

I don't tell people how they should portray themselves with pen names and using initials and all that. But it would be nice to see more women openly writing as women. Just in case it matters to some adolescent would-be writers out there. : )
 

Cindyt

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DRESS HER IN CHAMELEON - What historical novel has inspired most of us Southern gal writers? Why, fiddle dee dee, Scarlet! Margaret Michell's Gone With the Wind, with a bit of Gwen Bristow's Santa Fe Trail, and Larry McMurtrey's Lonesome Dove.

A DEADLY SPILL OF SCARLET - Started out as a love story inspired by Erich Segal's Love Story and morphed into the 1980s crime novel inspired by John D. "The Don" MacDonald's Travis McGee and Robert B. Parker's Spencer.
 

B.D. Skunkworks

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It depends on the project, I don't really have a consistent "voice"/style, I feel like. But I write marketing materials, blog posts, short fanfics, long novels...wouldn't make a lot of sense for me to only have one style.

Brazhenfall is inspired by The Handmaid's Tale and Confessions of the Fox as it's also an in-universe non-fiction text written by an academic (and footnote!). I have also been really inspired by Bad Blood and Super Pumped, which are nonfiction books about tech startup founders doing the big crimes. Those two really stuck with me because locations were places I've been, I've worked, characters are people I have 2-3 degrees of separation from, and it's a really weird feeling to read what feels like a thriller-y novel but you KNOW that you exist in that world just off-camera. That would be incredibly hard to replicate in fiction unless I make the reader a very specific character in-universe, and unless said reader has highlighted/tabbed/annotated the book themselves (a la Five Night's at Freddy's Survival Logbook) I'm not exactly sure how I'd do that! But if I ever figure it out I would love to try.

<Inspect> is incredibly based on Zero Escape, it's not even subtle about it, in themes, style, tone, and "under the hood" with the code/game design. There's also a healthy dose of Ace Attorney and Danganronpa, too. The other things are "non-inspirations," as in, "I absolutely hated how this writer/game did this, and I refuse to make the same mistake as them;" I won't go into specifics since that would go against RYFW lol. I cannot name specifics for other things that I'm drawing on for the first person POV stuff because I cannot recall them. But I am a firm believer that you're simply an amalgamation of all the media you've ever consumed and it all influences your style, even in subtle ways, so you can imagine whatever you want there.

My monster hunter project also gets a shout-out since it is also inspired by Zero Escape. Namely that the villain of ZE is faceblind and it upsets him so much that he did inhumane experiments on and killed children to find a cure for it, but also he's apparently too dumb to realize that you can tell people apart by their voice/hair/clothes/mannerisms. I'm faceblind, too, and it was the first time I've ever seen it in fiction and it really stuck with me because of how stupid and incorrect it was. So my rival/love interest is faceblind because I feel I must represent it fairly and justly. The fact it makes some plot stuff easier, too, (like he never realizes he met with a family member of the MC, or doesn't recognize the MC after a monstrous transformation) so that's a nice bonus!
But I am a firm believer that you're simply an amalgamation of all the media you've ever consumed and it all influences your style, even in subtle ways, so you can imagine whatever you want there.
Truer word was never spoken.
 

B.D. Skunkworks

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For me, no single author could ever replace Tolkien, although it meant a great deal to me that during the formative years of my life, Patricia McKillip, Robin McKinley, Connie Willis, Diana Wynne Jones, and Ursula LeGuin were actively writing what I considered to be truly excellent fantasy. I love fantasy, or at least noblebright fantasy, and seeing women consistently excel in it gave me hope.

I wish Rowling had been able to go with her full name. I think it was her publisher's call, although later she certainly had the clout to do otherwise. And maybe since everyone knows she's a woman, it doesn't matter so much.

I don't tell people how they should portray themselves with pen names and using initials and all that. But it would be nice to see more women openly writing as women. Just in case it matters to some adolescent would-be writers out there. : )
If you like women in fantasy, look up Melanie Rawn- Dragon Prince/Dragon Star; Susan Cooper- The Dark is rising. I think you'll like those book alot.
 
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B.D. Skunkworks

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All of your responses are brilliant! It's beautiful how we all draw influence differently to apply to a singular craft. Just imagine how different our worlds would be had we not been exposed to our inspirations so early on...
 
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Introversion

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I know I’ve been influenced by what I’ve read (how could I not?), but I don’t believe I’ve ever consciously tried to mimic an author. There are authors that I love, and re-read, but that I could never write as they do, and don’t try to.

Recently I’ve been re-reading SF works from the 80s and 90s. One thing that often strikes me is how many of them would be chided on AW for “telling rather than showing.” I know that’s something I often wrestle with myself, so maybe I’m more a product of that older “telly” style, that I think was more common and accepted then than now?
 

Kat M

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When I was a young teenager I read The Mozart Season by Virginia Euer Wolff—this meandering, literary, stream-of-consciousness YA about a violinist doing violin things. And I couldn't shake that book. It spoke to me like nothing else ever has, even though I have a whole host of favorite books.

I find my style and what I write keeps coming back to that—attempting to be literary (sometimes badly—I'm working on that), meandering, character-driven, and all about music.
 
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neandermagnon

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It really depends on the story and I think I could name any of my favourite writers over the years and show how they influenced me. So my initial answer would be "all of them".

My story about the cloned Neandertal definitely has a very strong Sue Townsend influence (Adrian Mole series). My story's in a diary format. I chose that because I'm sick of people refusing to believe that Neandertals could speak, so I'm making a point that a Neandertal raised in modern times and given a modern education would be literate too) and the main character is a teenager and it's a comedy with serious undertones (or a serious book with comic overtones... not sure where the dividing line is to be honest! Life has both comedy and seriousness. So that already moves it in an Adrian Mole direction. Also, I really like how in Adrian Mole (the original ones when he was a teenager) there were lots of things going on that he commented on but didn't fully understand, such as writing about how nice Mr Lucas has been to his mother, visiting her and such, then being utterly gobsmacked to find out that they'd been having an affair. So I've tried to bring that into my story. The voice is completely different (personality wise, my MC is nothing like Adrian Mole - plus he's not even the same species :LOL: ) but I've tried to get that difference between what's going on and how much my MC understands. The events in the story are also completely different to Adrian Mole, so it's not in any danger of being too similar. But there is definitely a Sue Townsend influence in there, more than any other writer I could think of.

For my other stories, it's harder to pinpoint any individual writer, so we're back to my answer of "all of them".
 
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mschenk2016

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Quentin Tarantino inspires me because he clearly knows the rules, but says f*** it and does what he wants. Like in The Hateful Eight when he decides "I'm going to set this scene by just reading directly out of the script".

Another influence is young Peter Jackson pre-LOTR. His old horror movies had an energy to them and were really weird.
 

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When I was 14 and writing a story my best friend said “Your style is kind of like the Bronte sisters” which I thought was fine and a complement because I still feel close to Charlotte and I was trying to write a story about the Irish potato famine and also a book-length take on a fairytale.

Around age 17 I read a short story by Lane Von Herzen and her style immediately impacted me. I haven’t read her for years, but I decided to order her book that was based on the short story and it came last week and I still love her style.

Here is a quote by Lane Von Herzen. Maybe it’s not for everybody, but I love it:

“My mama gave advice that seemed like it came straight from the mouth of God. She said ‘Don’t waste too much time setting up your beliefs about life before you go out and live it…. ‘ I first saw [Murray] that spring, working the old Jackson property west of Jensen’s. He stood in weeds that were as long and as white as an old woman’s hair, and when he walked, the crickets leaped away from his boots in low, silver arcs, five or six of them at a time. His two brothers stood with him to the one side and the other, each hitching up a sorrel horse to the plow. They all wore wide cotton work shirts, generous and pleated at the shoulder. The wind played amongst the folds, puckering and releasing them with its hot, bitter breath. Murray would’ve looked exactly like the others, except his brow was more proud-seeming where it shadowed his eyes. It was slanted outwards in a pale, stony ridge that made me consider his face as a certain and beautiful thing. He turned to look when we rode by.” -Lane Von Herzen.

I love it! I also like Newbery award winning Elizabeth George Speare and SF writers Robyn McKinnley and Patricia McKillip, but I don’t know if anyone has really impacted my style since my teens. I think it’s just me practicing and getting hopefully better at my own style since then. I’m 45 now.
 
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mschenk2016

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I hate the question "who do you write like?" because I don't write like anyone. I write like ME. But I was first inspired to get into writing from Tolkien. I started out writing LOTR-esque fantasy in high school/college, then went off in a totally different direction. My WIP has a lot of humor in it, so I get inspiration from Monty Python and Douglas Adams. Quentin Tarantino is a big influence because of the way he clearly knows the rules but just says f*** it and does what he wants, like that part in The Hateful Eight when he just starts reading out of the script. Buffy the Vampire was a big influence. My book is like one big metaphor for high school angst, like how Buffy's school was literally built on the mouth of hell. I even named my fictional town Weeden after Joss Whedon. Twin Peaks is another influence. I love David Lynch. H.P. Lovecraft is another. My sequel is going to expand on the universe and introduce all these sci fi elements like higher dimensional beings for my MC to fight.
 

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